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PSY3030 : Foundations in Forensic Psychology

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Steven Watson
  • Lecturer: Mr Darren Johnson, Dr Carla Chivers, Miss Faye Horsley, Professor Gavin Oxburgh
  • Owning School: Psychology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


To provide students with an insight into the general area of forensic psychology and to develop critical understanding of: (i) how psychological research has been applied to understanding the causes of criminal behaviour, including the assessment and treatment of offenders, and: (ii) the way such research can be used in an applied setting through investigative psychology.

Outline Of Syllabus

Introduction to forensic psychology
Theories of crime
Assessment and treatment of offenders
Psychological disorders e.g. Antisocial and Narcissistic Personality Disorders, Psychopathy.
Investigative psychology

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion140:0040:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading170:0070:00N/A
Guided Independent StudySkills practice111:0011:00Preparation of Functional Analysis Report
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops12:002:00To provide guidance for preparation of Formulation Report
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study155:0055:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The contact time for this module reflects the amount of preparation students are expected to do for the assessments (ICA and ECA). They will be expected to carry out literature searches and further reading from the essential and background reading suggested by the module leader and, with guidance including a dedicated workshop, will prepare a Formulation explaining offender behaviour (ICA).

Lectures will be used as the main way to impart knowledge and to stimulate interests in the topics. Students will be given detailed guidance on the principles of assessment and how to write a Formulation (ICA). The private study time will allow students to carry out an in depth review of the knowledge imparted through lectures, to generate their own views on the topics and to follow these out by carrying out independent reviews of the literature, thereby taking control over their learning and preparing them for the unseen exam.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1201A60Written exam comprising two ‘unseen’ essay questions from a choice of six
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report1M40A 1,000 word formulation explaining the behaviour of an offender (no ethics required).
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

For the in-course assessment (ICA), students are required to submit a 1,000 word formulation explaining an offenders behaviour as if to a non-psychologist professional in a forensic setting (E.g. a judge probation officer, or prison worker). This report will allow students to demonstrate their occupational awareness in forensic psychology, skills in synthesising and presenting materials, and evaluating and summarising appropriate material to a lay audience. It will assess their ability to select the appropriate information from source materials and their critical evaluation skills.

The exam essays will test their knowledge of the topic area, their understanding of their further reading, the ability for planning and organising material, their writing communication skills and their critical evaluation skills.

FMS Schools offering Semester One modules available as ‘Study Abroad’ will, where required, provide an alternative assessment time for examinations that take place after the Christmas vacation. Coursework with submissions dates after the Christmas vacation will either be submitted at an earlier date or at the same time remotely.

The form of assessment will not vary from the original.

Reading Lists